Arnold Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947, in Thal, Styria, Austria, to Gustav Schwarzenegger who was an Austrian Police chief and Aurelia (Jadrný) Schwarzenegger. Gustav had served in World War II as a Hauptfeldwebel, and was wounded in the Battle of Stalingrad, but was discharged in 1943 following a bout of malaria.
The Schwarzenegger home was a humble one. In fact, they did not have indoor plumbing until Arnold was a teenager. This was not uncommon at the time, however, since families all over Europe were just beginning to recover from the effects of World War II (1939-1945).
Schwarzenegger's childhood was far from ideal. His father, Gustav, was an alcoholic police chief and one-time member of the Nazi Party, who clearly favored Arnold's brother over his gangly, seemingly less athletic younger son, Meinhard. Both Arnold and Meinhard were required to get up before sunrise to tend to their chores. After chores came a rigorous exercise routine, followed by breakfast. Gustav also instilled a love of sports in his sons. Despite this barrier between his father and him, Schwarzenegger was very close with his mother.
Gustav is reported to have beaten and intimidated Arnold and, when he could, pitted his two boys against one another. He also ridiculed Schwarzenegger's early dreams of becoming a bodybuilder. This was against both the wishes of his parents-his father wished for him to become a police officer, and his mother was hoping that he would go to trade school. Yet, Schwarzenegger was inspired by the sport and believed he could be successful at it. In fact, Schwarzenegger was so dedicated to it that he would break into the gyms when they were closed on weekends because he didn't want to miss a workout. "It was a very uptight feeling at home," Schwarzenegger later recalled. So uptight and uncomfortable, in fact, that Schwarzenegger would later refuse to attend the funeral of his father, who died in 1972, or his brother, who was killed in a car crash in 1971.
Arnold took a keen interest in physical fitness and bodybuilding, going on to compete in several minor contests in Europe. However, it was when he emigrated to the United States in 1968. He became a naturalized United States citizen in 1983.